Image Credit: Cw Network/Kobal/Shutterstock
- Taylor Momsen played Jenny Humphrey in Gossip Girl.
- Taylor left the show in season 4.
- The actress addressed her exit in a 2023 interview.
Jenny Humphrey was a core member of the Gossip Girl squad in the first four seasons of the show. She was the heir apparent to the one and only Blair Waldorf, In the middle of the fourth season, Taylor Momsen abruptly left the hit CW series. She returned one last time for the series finale.
View this post on Instagram
Why did Taylor leave Gossip Girl? What did she do after exiting the show? The 30-year-old actress and singer opened up in a podcast interview with Penn Badgley, who played her onscreen brother, about her surprising Gossip Girl departure.
Why Was Taylor Momsen Written Off Gossip Girl?
Taylor was one of the original cast members when Gossip Girl premiered in 2007. The actress had her first breakout moment at just 5 years old when she played Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Taylor was a series regular for the first 4 seasons of Gossip Girl before she left the series. In her Podcrushed interview with Penn, Taylor revealed what led to her Gossip Girl exit.
“It was a childhood thing that I got put into at two years old. I wasn’t making my own choices then,” Taylor said about acting. “Literally, as soon as I got to an age where I could make my own decisions, it was like a click… I woke up one morning and went, ‘Wait a second. I don’t have to do this? I don’t have to do this other job? I can just play in my band and tour and write songs? I can just do that?’ Granted, a little more complicated to get out of a television show than that, but the answer was yes.”
Taylor Momsen at NYFW in February 2023. (Gregory Pace/Shutterstock)
Taylor “uprooted and changed my life overnight” when she decided to leave the show. She told the Gossip Girl team about her plans, and they were incredibly supportive. “They went, ‘Well, we can’t let you out of your deal, but we can write you out of the show, so you can go on tour,’” Taylor revealed. “They really allowed me to follow my dream, and I’m forever grateful and thankful to them for that.”
Around the time of her departure, nasty rumors swirled about her limited presence in season 4. The speculation about why she’d been written off amped up after Tim Gunn blasted the teen actress in an interview. “What a diva!” he told E! News in 2010. “She was pathetic, she couldn’t remember her lines, and she didn’t even have that many. I thought to myself, ‘Why are we all being held hostage by this brat?” Tim had been a guest star on Gossip Girl and worked directly with Taylor.
What Happened To Jenny Humphrey?
Gossip Girl fans couldn’t have been all that surprised when Jenny was written out of the show. At the end of season 3, Blair banished Jenny from Manhattan after finding out she slept with Chuck. Following the Blair and Jenny showdown, Jenny left the city and went to live with her mother in Hudson.
When season 4 premiered, Jenny was still living in Hudson. She returned to the city for an interview on a day pass from Blair. Jenny and Blair eventually started sparring again, and Jenny ultimately decided to leave town for good because she didn’t want to continue the vicious cycle of drama.
Taylor Momsen on the set of ‘Gossip Girl’ in 2010. (BDG/Shutterstock)
In season 5, Jenny moved to London to attend Central Saint Martins. Jenny did return in the series finale of Gossip Girl for Dan and Serena’s wedding. She appeared in the 5-year time jump, and fans learned that Jenny was working with Blair on a clothing line. As for the Gossip Girl reveal, Dan alluded that Jenny had known “for years” that he was the gossip blogger.
What Happened To Taylor Momsen After Gossip Girl?
Taylor formed her band, The Pretty Reckless, in 2009. She became the band’s lead singer. The band released its debut album, Light Me Up, in 2010 and went on tour with Evanescence in 2011.
During their Who Are You Selling For tour, the band was the opening act for Soundgarden on May 17, 2017. This Detroit concert happened to be Chris Cornell’s last performance before he died by suicide the next day.
The next year, Taylor suffered another tragic loss. Her best friend and collaborator, Kato Khandwala, died in April 2018 at the age of 47 after a motorcycle crash. In a 2022 interview, her first face-to-face interview in 5 years, Taylor revealed she fell into a “dark, deep hole of depression.” She isolated herself from loved ones and her band as she grieved the loss of Kato.
The singer eventually began writing again. The band’s latest album, Death by Rock and Roll, dropped in 2021.
What Is Taylor Momsen Doing Today?
Taylor is still a member of The Pretty Reckless today. The band continues to make music and perform together. Taylor has yet to return to acting. Her final acting role was in the 2012 series finale of Gossip Girl.
Her Podcrushed interview with Penn, which was recorded prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, marked the first time she and Penn had seen each other since filming Gossip Girl’s final episode more than a decade before. When Penn asked his co-star what she’d tell the 12-year-old version of herself, Taylor responded, “Follow your gut. That’s what I’d say.”
Taylor and The Pretty Reckless have been performing all throughout 2023. In a July 2023 Instagram post, Taylor opened up about how much this tour has meant to the band in the wake of tragedy.
Taylor Momsen performing with The Pretty Reckless. (Daniel DeSlover/Shutterstock)
“What a long strange trip it’s been…we quietly started touring ‘Death By Rock And Roll’ by dipping our feet back in the water after four years of seclusion and hell,” Taylor began. “We didn’t want to come out to sell or promote, we wanted to play…first for ourselves, and then to share with everyone who feels a connection to our music. Tonight we play our last show for this tour. It started as a record we made for the memory of those we lost along the way. Some you’ve heard about, some you haven’t. It’s been painful and cathartic at the same time, but it’s time to move on.”
She continued, “You have to move on from grief at some point and now is the time. As we go and live life and take all we’ve learned and pour it into new songs, we want to thank every single one of you who have shared every show and song with us. We’ve become a different band, but YOU are our musical family and we couldn’t do it without all of you. You helped us keep the memories of loved ones alive and we owe you the world.”